Sacred Heart Prep had the best local finish, the Menlo School boys tied for best local record while three other local water polo teams gained plenty of experience at the High School State Invitational this past weekend in Southern California.
Sacred Heart Prep finished 11th with a 4-2 record with Menlo also compiling a 4-2 mark while taking 25th. St. Francis went 3-3 for 14th place while Palo Alto went 2-4 for 29th and Menlo-Atherton 0-6 for 32nd.
"It was a good weekend for us," said SHP coach Brian Kreutzkamp. "We are very young and this was the first big varsity tournament for all my athletes but two -- Rob Dunlevie and Phil Bamberg."
Dunlevie and Bamberg led the Gators both offensively and defensively during the weekend while sophomore Will Runkel drew praise from Kreutzkamp for his outstanding goalie play.
Sacred Heart opened with a 14-3 over Clovis West and followed that with a 5-2 victory over Capo Valley. Following an 8-4 loss to Corona Del Mar, the Gators bounced back with an 8-7 overtime win over Laguna Beach. A 14-7 loss to Agoura, however, dropped Sacred Heart Prep into the 11th-place which, which the Gators won with a 6-5 victory over Santa Barbara.
"It was a great tournament to end our summer season on," Kreutzkamp said. "We are looking forward to the fall."
Sacred Heart Prep is the defending Central Coast Section Division II champion.
Menlo, which lost to SHP in the CCS Division II title game last fall, also had a good showing in Southern California for head coach Jack Bowen, who became a father for the first time just nine days ago. Jack and his wife, Jessica, had a son, Jake.
"I missed a third of his life by going to this tournament!" Bowen said.
"We did pretty well this weekend," Bown said. "We went 4-2, which is great at this tournament. We got a tough first draw -- the No. 4 team ended up being No. 1 in our bracket. We beat Agoura in our bracket, but they ended up beating Miramonte, who we lost to, and so we finished fourth in the initial bracket, thus making 25th the best we could do."
Menlo opened with a 10-9 win over Agoura, but lost to Miramonte, 10-4.
While Palo Alto placed 29th out of 32 teams, the Vikings exceeded expectations going into the tournament. Paly had a tough draw and lost to Newport Harbor (which ended up third overall) and Santa Barbara on Friday. Palo Alto then lost to Foothill on Saturday to close out group play, which was held at Newport Harbor.
Paly's losses put it in the bottom bracket at Dana Hills High, we the Vikings lost to Dana Hills. On Sunday, Paly rebounded well to beat Menlo-Atherton, 10-9, in one of Palo Alto's better games of the tournament.
In the final match, the Vikings pulled out a nail-biter against rowdy Clovis West, winning in a shootout 14-13 after double overtime. Paly goalie Daniel Armitano blocked two penalty shots during the shootout and one during regulation.
Despite the losing record, Palo Alto played well and showed great improvement from summer league. The trip showed the players that they have the talent and skill to be competitive against any team.
Other results from the tournament were incomplete.